BRATTLEBORO -- Devon Spirka wears the No. 21 at Nichols College because, well, the ".10" jersey wasn't available.
The 5-7 guard from Wilmington, who dished out a team-high 74 dimes for the Bison last season and spent three years at Twin Valley setting up teammate Tarryn Bolognani and company, has just begun her senior year at the school in Dudley, Mass.
Spirka has been named a tri-captain along with Kasey Pelletier and Alexis Wegrzynek. They will lead a Bison team that went 6-20 and 7-18 in their last two seasons.
Nichols will open up with a home game against Johnson State College on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. -- JSC is led by Brattleboro Union High School graduate Mary Richardson and is expected to have freshman Ashley Goddard from Leland & Gray on its side. And they will travel to Lyndon State College on Dec. 10 for a 7 p.m. contest.
Spirka averaged 3.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 9.4 points per game as a junior. She ranked first on her team in assists, free-throw shooting (77 percent), three-point shooting (23 percent) and steals (2.1 per game), and was second in scoring.
Out of the roughly 6,500 women that played Division 3 basketball last season, Spirka ranked 109th in assists. Is anyone who saw her play at Twin Valley from 2006-2010 really that surprised?
Whether it was a 2-on-1 break with T-Bo, a backdoor feed to Alicia Laughney, or a post entry to Jessica Bolognani, it always seemed to be on target. And so were those rare no-look passes and thread-the-needle types.
In her junior year, Spirka made the Dean's List in the fall and the Dean's List High Honors for the spring semester. The only reason she didn't make the High Honors in the Fall was that Nichols would not carry over her GPA when she transferred from Division 2 Holy Family.
She was selected to the Commonwealth Coast Conference spring 2012-13 Academic All-Conference Team.
"The coolest thing that's happened is she was invited to play basketball to represent the USA in Italy this coming May," said Bill Spirka, whose daughter will be one of a dozen players on the USA team that will tour Italy and play international ball in 2014. "She's pretty excited at the chance. Now all she needs to do is raise the money."
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.